Lahore, Feb 18 : Democratic Senator Joseph Biden has urged authorities in Pakistan to ensure that the February 18 elections are free and fair, and cautioned that there could be riots in the country if the elections are rigged.
"Without an open election that gain the confidence of the vast majority of the middle class here, there will be great turmoil," The News quoted Biden, as saying.
Biden, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a democrat from Delaware. He pointed out that only a democratic government would help Pakistan combat terrorism and also suggested that Washington should cut off military aid if the Pakistan elections are unfair.
He specifically mentioned that Washington should consider blocking the sale of F-16 fighter jets and P3 long-range maritime surveillance aircraft to Pakistan in the event of unfair elections.
"I do not buy into the argument that the only person who has the capacity to help in dealing with terrorism is Musharraf," Biden said.
Biden also suggested that the US should reward a credible election with a "democracy dividend" by tripling economic aid to 1.5 billion dollars a year in order to build a stronger bilateral relationship.
He said there should be more transparency about the usage of the billions of dollars, which is given as military aid to Pakistan by the US in return for its cooperation against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
The United States has forked out ten billion dollars to Pakistan since 2001, to help it tackle Al-Qaeda and Taliban on its border with Afghanistan.
"I'm not at all certain that it is all being used for the war on terror," he said. "Is it on the Afghan border or the Indian border?"
Biden said he has mild hopes about the fairness in the February 18 elections.
However, he said that the Pakistani military "has to know there is a price to pay for failure to support democratic institutions."